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First pile of the new SRON building: 'A new impetus for space travel and astronomy'

‘We intend to use the arrival of SRON in South Holland to give a serious impetus to research and activities related to space travel and astronomy in the broadest sense of the word.' These were the words of Rector Carel Stolker of Leiden University at the ceremony where the first pile of the new SRON building in Leiden was driven.

The headquarters of SRON, the Netherlands Institute for Space Research - which is currently still in Utrecht - will be located on the Leiden University Science Campus from mid-2021. 

Six new researchers

The move is part of a broader collaboration between SRON, Leiden University, TU Delft and various other knowledge partners, focusing on the main research programmes at SRON: astrophysics, exoplanet research, Earth-oriented research and technology development. The first step in this close collaboration is the appointment of six new researchers, spread equally over the TU Delft and Leiden University, who will be conducting research in the fields mentioned.  

New building SRON
Artist's impression of the future headquarters of SRON

Many partners

The first pile was driven by SRON Director Michael Wise and the Institute Manager of SRON, Annemieke Beers, together with representatives of the partners who facilitated the move to South  Holland: Carel Stolker (President of the Executive Board and Rector Magnificus of Leiden University), Henry Werij  (Dean of Aerospace Engineering at TU Delft), Adri Bom-Lemstra (representative of the Province of South Holland), Paul Dirkse (alderman in Leiden), Caroline Visser and Jaap Schouten (both from the board of NWO).

BREEAM Excellent

SRON Institute Manager Annemieke Beers: ‘It's fantastic that we've reached this important milestone. We as an institute are looking forward to our move here in 2021.’

During the ceremony, SRON was presented with a BREEAM Excellent design certificate. The certificate recognises the extensive set of sustainability requirements that the new building meets. These requirements are in the areas of ecology, pollution, water, materials, health and energy. 

Carel Stolker

Carel Stolker expects the move of SRON to Leiden will strengthen and intensify space travel research and related activities in the region. 'Ultimately, we want to move towards a "Space Delta" in the South Holland region - with broader collaboration, further sharing of facilities, more funding for research and greater impact - on the economy and society.  This new impetus will benefit space travel and astronomy research as a whole in the Netherlands.

'I have every confidence in the future - this first pile that's now firmly fixed in the ground is evidence that much more is possible if we work together.' 

Photography: Remco Zwinkels
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